At the moment, the Land of Dreams isn’t Basin Street or the outskirts of Lake Ponchartrain. It’s the Village Hotel Newcastle, where the Whitley Bay Classic Jazz Party had its unofficial beginnings last night . . . and will emerge at full power in a few hours.
Some of my friends went, last night, to a concert at The Sage Gateshead to hear Cecile McLorin Salvant pay tribute to Billie Holiday with noble assistance from Rico Tomasso and Jean-Francois Bonnel; I stayed at the hotel to marvel at two rehearsals. In one, a band featuring Andy Schumm, Michael McQuaid, Alistair Allan, Frans Sjostrom, Nick Ward, and others, played music associated with Frank Trumbauer, and then Red Nichols. Imagine I’M COMIN’ VIRGINIA and WAY DOWN YONDER IN NEW ORLEANS, IDA, ECCENTRIC, FEELIN’ NO PAIN, THAT’S NO BARGAIN . . . Then my hero Bent Persson took the stand to work his way through clever arrangements of some truly obscure songs Louis had recorded for the Hot Choruses book — SPANISH SHAWL, CAFE CAPERS, SIDEWALK BLUES, HOT NOTES, STOMP YOUR STUFF . . . with wonderful playing from Jens Lindgren, Martin Seck, Rene Hagmann (saxophone and cornet), Thomas Winteler, Frans Sjostrom, Phil Rutherford, Josh Duffee, and others. And Bent played the Louis choruses on each tune — electrifying! The band, if you can’t imagine it from my words, sounded like an on-the-spot evocation of the CHICAGO BREAKDOWN session. With no breakdowns.
I expect to be Too Busy to Blog . . . but think of me among the beautiful sounds.
I hope some of my readers will be inspired by this description to begin to consider the possibility of a 2013 visit. Good music, good friends — joy in the air. Today we’ll hear from Keith Nichols, Norman Field, Duke Heitger, Matthias Seuffert, Spats Langham, Martin Wheatley, Stephane Gillot, Malcolm Sked, Richard Pite, Kristoffer Kompen, Emma Fisk, and more . . .
May your happiness increase.